Saturday, February 10, 2007

Clyde Wilson: The Lincoln Fable, Part II


In this photo made available by Rudinec and Associates, Norman Rockwell's painting, "Lincoln the Railsplitter" is shown.


Friday, February 09, 2007

http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org


Alas! it is delusion all;
The future cheats us from afar,
Nor can we be what we recall,
Nor dare we think on what we are.

—Lord Byron



There are a couple of curious aspects of the Lincoln story that are worth mentioning here. The two men who knew Lincoln best, Herndon, his longtime law partner, and Lamon, his confidential agent during the war, both ridiculed the Lincoln fable that was being created in their time. To them Lincoln was no saint; he was the tough, cunning politician who carried off the difficult feat of consolidating the Republican coup d’etat. Another curious thing is that Lincoln’s son destroyed vast quantities of his father’s papers, which were never seen by anyone except the two adoring secretaries/biographers Nicolay and Hay. One must wonder why. You would think that every scrap of paper associated with such an important and revered figure would be cherished. That is normally the case. If you had a slip of paper with an authentic Lincoln signature on it, you could put it on the market today for $5,000 to start.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Known facts about Lincoln, both as a public and as a private man, contradict or seriously undermine the fable at every point. What I have to say does not include any amazing discoveries or brilliant insights. It is simply information that has long been known. Establishment historians either deny the obvious or are, as Professor Thomas DiLorenzo has pointed out, fabulously creative in finding excuses. James G. Randall, once known as the leading Lincoln scholar, admitted that, yes, Lincoln was something of a dictator. But that was all right because he was only dictatorial when he had to be, and the power could not have been in safer hands. Lincoln is not a question of evidence and reason; he is a question of Faith. To question the Faith is like flushing the Koran in front of a Muslim.

Lincoln never looked like a handsome young Henry Fonda or Raymond Massey even at his best. His face was partly deformed, he had a degenerative disease, and his arms and legs, as everybody noticed, were too long for his trunk, almost to the point of grotesqueness, which is why Stanton called him “the Gorilla.” Besides, he had been kicked in the head by a horse or a mule and ever after had frequent doddering blackouts, though usually lasting only a few seconds.



Despite ten thousand Mother’s Day sermons about the tender and loving son, Lincoln callously walked away from his natal family and never looked back. At times his wife drove him from the house in a rage, and she ended up in an insane asylum suffering mental and physical deterioration that have been described as resembling advanced syphilis. On the record, Lincoln was no poster boy for son, husband, or father. According to the fable Lincoln suffered greatly from the tragic early death of his first love. There is no evidence whatsoever for the Ann Rutledge story. However, we do know that Lincoln cold-bloodedly jilted one lady when he found another of higher status. Even then, he stood up the new fiance at the altar the first time.

The fable presents us with a pious, praying, saintly Ole Abe, a rail-splitter of humble birth, rather resembling a well-known Carpenter of similar background, and who also was martyred on Good Friday and wafted to Heaven by flights of angels. So far as we know the real Lincoln was an agnostic who was a prolific retailer of dirty stories and who cynically made his political speeches sound like the King James Bible. One of the few evidences of belief he showed was in the Second Inaugural when he blamed the war on God, for whom Humble Abe Lincoln was but an innocent instrument.

Then, there is Honest Abe, the poor boy who made good through earnest effort and integrity. He was born in a log cabin. Big deal. Most people were born in log cabins in those days and many very successful men were self-educated. Lincoln’s rival Stephen Douglas was born in a log cabin in Vermont and walked all the way to Illinois. He became a successful lawyer without the prestigious sponsorship of well-connected Southern families that Lincoln enjoyed. But a public that fell for “Horatio Alger” was ripe for a log cabin spiel. Lincoln was not the country lawyer who defended the poor widow whose cow had been killed by the railroad. He was the attorney for the railroad and a rich man. That his career was somehow in defense of the “common man” is concocted political propaganda endlessly repeated as a fact. His success as a lawyer was based on a mastery of cunning tactics with juries, not on deep and noble learning.

Then there is the young prairie idealist whose integrity and potential greatness was sensed by the people, who propelled him forward into leadership despite his humility. In fact, according to Herndon, ambition—a relentless, almost pathological ambition—was the dominant trait of Lincoln’s character. No one was ever elected to the Presidency before or since who was more unknown and with less real popular support. After all, 60 per cent of “the people” voted against him. He rose by mastering all the mechanics of politics—packing and manipulating conventions, secretly buying up newspapers, meeting vital issues with elegant sounding but ambiguous positions. Idealist? David Davis, whom Lincoln appointed to the Supreme Court, said that Lincoln was “the most secretive man I ever knew,” an observation supported by others. What we have here is not an idealist but a self-taught and very talented Machiavellian.

In fact, Lincoln calculated and dissimulated even more than is normal for ambitious politicians. One of the reasons we have trouble understanding how bad it was is that he permanently debased the standards of public discourse so that we now take for granted things that were egregious innovations in his day. Lincoln admitted he named his chief rivals in the party to his cabinet so he could keep his eye on them. This is now regarded as clever and amusing. Washington and Jefferson would have regarded it as corrupt and dishonourable. Lincoln drove even his admirers and supporters mad with his habit of never answering a question, but instead proffering a humorous story. This again is now regarded as cute and clever. Can you imagine Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, or Jefferson Davis conducting his public duties this way?

Lincoln fits quite well the personality type that has been described as the Crackpot Realist. A crackpot realist is one who believes that everyone is just as cynical and self-serving as he is, and in knowing that and being clever, he can manipulate others to his advantage. That well describes Lincoln’s legal career and his relationship to the voters. Lincoln in Illinois: I have neither the intention nor the power to interfere with slavery. I would not know what to do if I had the power. Lincoln in New York: A house divided against itself cannot stand. It must become all one thing or all the other. What exactly is your position on the slavery controversy, Mr. Lincoln? Well, that reminds me of the story about the farmer and the pig . . . Lincoln was not against slavery; he was just in favor of reducing Southern political power so that the South could not block politicians and capitalists from looting the Treasury and defend itself from exploitation or interference.

I think Lincoln’s crackpot realism caught up with him in the secession crisis. He really thought, and his party certainly preached to the Northern public, that Southerners were not serious about secession. He thought they were merely using maneuver and rhetoric for advantage, which was his own method and his only conception of politics. He did not understand that Southern leaders came from an older world in which a man said what he meant and meant what he said. Lincoln believed that firmness and perhaps a little show of force would bring the South to accept what he regarded as realism and after awhile buckle under to the fait accompli. Refusing any sort of negotiation, he maneuvered for an excuse for force. When he got Fort Sumter he called for troops. The call for troops immediately more than doubled the population and resources of the Confederacy, put the border states into bloody play, and guaranteed a loing and horrible war. One must conclude that this great wise and all-seeing statesman either wanted the war or else he made the most terrible miscalculation in American history.

(to be continued)


This article was drawn from a paper presented at the Abbeville Institute conference on “Re-Thinking Lincoln,” July 7-15 at Franklin, Louisiana. Audiotapes of this and presentations by Thomas DiLorenzo, Donald Livingston, H.A. Scott Trask, Joseph Stromberg, and others can be obtained from www.abbevilleinstitute.org.

Clyde Wilson is a professor of history at the University of South Carolina, editor of
The Papers of John C. Calhoun, author of Carolina Cavalier, and a contributing
editor for Chronicles.

Scenes from the Climate Inquisition

The chilling effect of the global warming consensus.

by Steven F. Hayward & Kenneth P. Green

The Weekly Standard

02/19/2007, Volume 012, Issue 22


On February 2, an AEI research project on climate change policy that we have been organizing was the target of a journalistic hit piece in Britain's largest left-wing newspaper, the Guardian. The article's allegation--that we tried to bribe scientists to criticize the work of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)--is easy to refute. More troubling is the growing worldwide effort to silence anyone with doubts about the catastrophic warming scenario that Al Gore and other climate extremists are putting forth.

"Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today," read the Guardian's lead. The byline was Ian Sample, the paper's science correspondent, and his story ran under the headline "Scientists Offered Cash to Dispute Climate Study."

Sample spoke to one of us for five minutes to gather a perfunctory quotation to round out his copy, but he clearly was not interested in learning the full story. He found time, however, to canvass critics for colorful denunciations of the American Enterprise Institute as "the Bush administration's intellectual Cosa Nostra," with nothing but "a suitcase full of cash."

Every claim in the story was false or grossly distorted, starting with the description of the American Enterprise Institute as a "lobby group"--AEI engages in no lobbying--funded by the world's largest oil company. The Guardian reports that "AEI has received more than $1.6 million from ExxonMobil." Yes--over the last seven years, a sum that represents less than 1 percent of AEI's total revenue during that period.

The irony of this story line is that AEI and similar right-leaning groups are more often attacked for supposedly ignoring the scientific "consensus" and promoting only the views of a handful of "skeptics" from the disreputable fringe. Yet in this instance, when we sought the views of leading "mainstream" scientists, our project is said to be an attempt at bribery. In any event, it has never been true that we ignore mainstream science; and anyone who reads AEI publications closely can see that we are not "skeptics" about warming. It is possible to accept the general consensus about the existence of global warming while having valid questions about the extent of warming, the consequences of warming, and the appropriate responses. In particular, one can remain a policy skeptic, which is where we are today, along with nearly all economists.

The substantive backstory, in brief, is as follows. The 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expressed the hope that scientific progress would reduce key uncertainties in climate models, especially having to do with clouds and aerosols. As the 2001 report stated: "The accuracy of these [temperature] estimates continues to be limited by uncertainties in estimates of internal variability, natural and anthropogenic forcing, and the climate response to external forcing." The IPCC identified 12 key factors for climate modeling, and said that the level of scientific understanding was "very low" for 7 of the 12. What progress have climate models made since this assessment was written, we wondered? Even people who closely follow the scientific journals are hard-pressed to tell.

Last summer we decided to commission essays from scientists, economists, and public policy experts in the hope of launching a fresh round of discussion and perhaps holding a conference or publishing a book. Among the nine scholars we wrote to in July were Gerald North and Steve Schroeder of Texas A&M, who have done scrupulous and detailed work on some key aspects of climate modeling, and we were confident that their work would be seen as authoritative by all sides. (North chaired the recent National Academy of Sciences review of the controversial "hockey stick" temperature reconstruction.) We couched our query in the context of wanting to make sure the next IPCC report received serious scrutiny and criticism.

Our offer of an honorarium of up to $10,000 to busy scientists to review several thousand pages of material and write an original analysis in the range of 7,500 to 10,000 words is entirely in line with honoraria AEI and similar organizations pay to distinguished economists and legal scholars for commissioned work. (Our letter to North and Schroeder can be found readily on AEI's website.)

North declined our invitation on account of an already full schedule. Schroeder shared our letter with one of his Texas A&M colleagues, atmospheric scientist Andrew Dessler. Dessler posted our complete letter on his blog in late July, along with some critical but largely fair-minded comments, including: "While one might be skeptical that the AEI will give the [IPCC Fourth Assessment Report] a fair hearing, the fact that they have solicited input from a credible and mainstream scientist like Jerry North suggests to me that I should not prejudge their effort."

Dessler's story was linked on another popular environmental blog (www.grist.org), after which someone in the environmental advocacy community (the Washington Post suggests it was Greenpeace and the Public Interest Research Group) picked up the story and tried to plant it, with a sinister spin, somewhere in the media. Several reporters looked into it--including one from a major broadcast network who spent half a day talking with us in November about the substance of our climate views--but reached the conclusion that there was no story here. In particular, AEI's recent book Strategic Options for Bush Administration Climate Policy, advocating a carbon tax and criticizing Bush administration climate policy, clearly didn't fit the "Big Oil lobby corrupts science" story line.

So instead, the story was taken overseas and peddled to the Guardian, which, like some of its British competitors, has a history of publishing environmentalist hype as news. (In December, Guardian columnist George Monbiot offered the view that "every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned.") Add a Matt Drudge link and a credulous recycling of the story by NPR's "Morning Edition," and a full-scale media frenzy was on. Even Al Gore jumped on the bandwagon, calling us "unethical" in an appearance in Silicon Valley and a CNN interview.

We were deluged with calls, but--unlike the reporters who had looked at the story last fall--none of our interrogators last week evinced any interest in the substance of our views on climate change science or policy, nor did any news story that we have seen accurately report the figures we supplied regarding ExxonMobil's share of AEI's funding.

The Guardian story, it should be noted, appeared the very day the IPCC released its new summary on the science of climate change. This was a transparent attempt to discredit an anticipated AEI blast at the IPCC. But no such blast was ever in the offing. As our letter to Schroeder makes clear, our project was not expected to produce any published results until some time in 2008, long after the headlines about the IPCC report would have faded.

Meanwhile, the IPCC's release of a 21-page summary of its work a full three months before the complete 1,400-page report is due to be published is exactly the kind of maneuver that raises questions about the politicization of the IPCC process. Why the delay? In the past, official summaries of IPCC reports have sometimes overstated the consensus of scientific opinion revealed later in the fine print (though, to be fair, it is more often the media and advocacy groups that misrepresent findings or omit the IPCC's caveats and declarations of uncertainty on key points). Is the full report going to be rewritten to square more closely with the summary? The Scientific Alliance in Cambridge, England, noted that it is "an unusual step to publish the summary of a document that has not yet been finalized and released into the public domain."

One possible reason for the timing is that there appear to be some significant retreats from the 2001 IPCC report. The IPCC has actually lowered its estimate of the magnitude of human influence on warming, though we shall have to wait for the full report in May to understand how and why. Only readers with detailed knowledge of the 2001 report would notice these changes, which is why most news accounts failed to report them.

This reining-in has led some climate pessimists to express disappointment with the new summary. Environmental writer Joseph Romm, for example, complained about "the conservative edge to the final product." Which returns us to our starting point.

The rollout of the IPCC report and the Guardian story attacking us coincide with the climax of what can be aptly described as a climate inquisition intended to stifle debate about climate science and policy. Anyone who does not sign up 100 percent behind the catastrophic scenario is deemed a "climate change denier." Distinguished climatologist Ellen Goodman spelled out the implication in her widely syndicated newspaper column last week: "Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers." One environmental writer suggested last fall that there should someday be Nuremberg Trials--or at the very least a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission--for climate skeptics who have blocked the planet's salvation.

Former Vice President Al Gore has proposed that the media stop covering climate skeptics, and Britain's environment minister said that, just as the media should give no platform to terrorists, so they should exclude climate change skeptics from the airwaves and the news pages. Heidi Cullen, star of the Weather Channel, made headlines with a recent call for weather-broadcasters with impure climate opinions to be "decertified" by the American Meteorological Society. Just this week politicians in Oregon and Delaware stepped up calls for the dismissal of their state's official climatologists, George Taylor and David Legates, solely on the grounds of their public dissent from climate orthodoxy. And as we were completing this article, a letter arrived from senators Bernard Sanders, Pat Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, and John Kerry expressing "very serious concerns" about our alleged "attempt to undermine science." Show-trial hearing to follow? Stay tuned.

Desperation is the chief cause for this campaign of intimidation. The Kyoto accords are failing to curtail greenhouse gas emissions in a serious way, and although it is convenient to blame Bush, anyone who follows the Kyoto evasions of the Europeans knows better. The Chinese will soon eclipse the United States as world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, depriving the gas-rationers of one of their favorite sticks for beating up Americans. The economics of steep, near-term emissions cuts are forbidding--though that's one consensus the climate crusaders ignore. Robert Samuelson nailed it in his syndicated column last week: "Don't be fooled. The dirty secret about global warming is this: We have no solution."

The relentless demonization of anyone who does not fall in behind the Gore version of the issue--manmade climate catastrophe necessitating draconian cuts in emissions--has been effective. Steve Schroeder practically admitted as much when he told the Washington Post that, although he didn't think AEI would distort his work, he feared it could be "misused" or placed alongside "off-the-wall ideas" questioning the existence of global warming. In other words, Schroeder was afraid of the company he might have to keep. For the record, AEI extended an invitation to participate in this project to only one so-called skeptic (who declined, on grounds that reviewing the next IPCC report isn't worth the effort). The other scientists and economists we contacted are from the "mainstream," and we were happy to share with them the names of other prospective participants if they asked. Over the last four years, AEI has repeatedly invited senior IPCC figures, including Susan Solomon, Robert Watson, Richard Moss, and Nebojsa Nakicenovic, to speak at AEI panels and seminars, always with an offer to pay honoraria. Full schedules prevented these four from accepting our invitation; a few more junior IPCC members have spoken at AEI.

But the climate inquisition may prompt a backlash. One straw in the wind was the bracing statement made by Mike Hulme, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and one of Britain's leading climate scientists. "I have found myself increasingly chastised by climate change campaigners when my public statements and lectures on climate change have not satisfied their thirst for environmental drama and exaggerated rhetoric," Hulme told the BBC in November. "It seems that it is we, the professional climate scientists, who are now the skeptics. How the wheel turns. . . . Why is it not just campaigners, but politicians and scientists, too, who are openly confusing the language of fear, terror, and disaster with the observable physical reality of climate change, actively ignoring the careful hedging which surrounds science's predictions? . . . To state that climate change will be 'catastrophic' hides a cascade of value-laden assumptions which do not emerge from empirical or theoretical science."

Then in December, Kevin Vranes of the University of Colorado, by no means a climate skeptic, commented on a widely read science blog about the mood of the most recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union, where Al Gore had made his standard climate presentation. "To sum up the state of the [climate science] world in one word, as I see it right now, it is this: tension," Vranes wrote. "What I am starting to hear is internal backlash. . . . None of this is to say that the risk of climate change is being questioned or downplayed by our community; it's not. It is to say that I think some people feel that we've created a monster by limiting the ability of people in our community to question results that say 'climate change is right here!'"

The climate inquisition is eliminating any space for sensible criticism of the climate science process or moderate deliberation about policy. Greenpeace and its friends may be celebrating their ability to gin up a phony scandal story and feed it to the left-wing press, but if people who are serious about climate change hunker down in their fortifications and stay silent, that bodes ill for the future of climate policy and science generally.

Steven F. Hayward is the F.K. Weyerhaeuser fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Kenneth P. Green is a resident scholar at AEI. Both are frequent contributors to AEI's Environmental Policy Outlook.

Bauer Mourned



YANKEES GREAT DEAD AT 84

By HAL BOCK, AP

February 10, 2007 -- Hank Bauer, the hard-nosed ex-Marine who returned to baseball after being wounded during World War II and went on to become a cornerstone of the Yankees dynasty of the 1950s, died yesterday. He was 84.

Bauer died of cancer in Shawnee Mission, Kan., said the Baltimore Orioles. Bauer managed the 1966 Orioles to their first World Series title.

A three-time All-Star outfielder, Bauer played on Yankees teams that won nine American League pennants and seven World Series in 10 years. He set the Series record with a 17-game hitting streak, a mark that still stands.

"Hank Bauer is an emblem of a generation that helped shape the landscape of our country," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement. "He was a natural leader and a teammate in every sense of the word, and his contributions went well beyond the baseball field. His service to the Yankees, his country, and his family shows why I have been so privileged to call him a friend."

Surrounded by sluggers Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra, Bauer was a major ingredient in the Yankees' success during his years in New York from 1948-59.

"I am truly heartbroken," Berra said in a statement issued by the Yankees. "Hank was a wonderful teammate and friend for so long. Nobody was more dedicated and proud to be a Yankee, he gave you everything he had."

Bauer played his last two seasons with the Kansas City Athletics, a team he managed in 1961-62. He also managed Baltimore from 1964-68 and the Athletics again in Oakland in 1969.

"He played on some of the greatest teams that ever played and brought the Orioles their first World Series title," Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer said. "That's saying something. He was a players' manager. He didn't overcomplicate things.

"He was my first manager in the major leagues. He gave me my first opportunity (in 1965) when he could have kept other people. I was lucky; he was a Jim Palmer fan. You can't get in the Hall of Fame without your first chance."

Bauer was voted The Associated Press AL Manager of the Year in 1964 and 1966, when his Orioles swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. It was the only time he reached the Series as a manager, but he was a frequent participant in the postseason with the Yankees.

Bauer's World Series hitting streak stretched from 1956-58 when the Yankees dynasty was at its peak.

"Oh, it was a joy," he said in a 1998 interview. "I was there 11 years and we won nine pennants. And we could have very easily won 10 in a row, because in 1954 we won more games than we ever did. We won 103."

Cleveland won 111 that year, a rare interruption in the Yankees dynasty that stretched from 1949-64.

Bauer enlisted in the Marines shortly after Pearl Harbor and saw action in a number of battles in the Pacific, including Okinawa and Guadalcanal, according to Hall of Fame archives. He earned two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.

Bauer was wounded at Okinawa, hit in the left thigh by shrapnel in his 53rd day on the island.

"We went in with 64 and six of us came out," Bauer said.

After he was discharged, Bauer signed with the Yankees' minor-league affiliate at Kansas City, and after two .300 seasons there moved to New York in 1948. A year later, Casey Stengel became the manager and Bauer moved into the lineup as the Yankees began their run.

Bauer batted .320 in his second full season and became a fixture in the Yankees outfield alongside Mantle. The two outfielders became close friends.

Equipped with a strong arm, Bauer was a dead-pull fastball hitter, a disadvantage at Yankee Stadium with its spacious left field. He once said that if he hit a ball to right field, it was an accident.

Bauer batted .277 with 164 homers and 703 RBIs. It was in the World Series that he excelled, from a Series-ending catch at his knees against the New York Giants in 1951 to his final Series appearance in 1958, when he hit .323 with four homers and eight RBIs as the Yankees beat the Milwaukee Braves in seven games.

In 1959, after the Yankees finished behind the Chicago White Sox, Bauer was part of a seven-player trade with Kansas City that delivered Roger Maris to New York.

Obituary: Hank Bauer


Hank Bauer, 84, World Series Star, Dies

By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: February 10, 2007

Hank Bauer, a bruising pipe fitter and decorated combat veteran who became an All-Star outfielder for the Yankees, playing in nine World Series, and who later managed the Baltimore Orioles to a stunning Series victory, died yesterday in Shawnee Mission, Kan. He was 84.

The cause was cancer, a statement by the Orioles said.

Bauer joined the Yankees in the closing weeks of the 1948 season, hitting singles in his first three at bats. He then barreled through the next 11 seasons as the Yankees dynasty moved from the Joe DiMaggio era into the Mickey Mantle era. The Yankees won nine American League pennants and seven World Series during his seasons with them. In all, he played 14 years in the major leagues.

Bauer, who had a powerful throwing arm, was named to the American League All-Star team three times, from 1952 to 1954, and compiled a career batting average of .277 with 164 home runs, 57 triples, 229 doubles and 703 runs batted in.

He is remembered for his World Series performances, including a record 17-game hitting streak (1956-58) and a game-saving catch. But one of his finest baseball moments came seven years after the Yankees had traded him so they could acquire Roger Maris.

It was in 1966, when Bauer, now a manager, led the Orioles to their first World Series title, a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers in a contest loaded with future Hall of Famers like Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer of the Orioles and Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale of the Dodgers.

Bauer acknowledged that he was not a natural fielder or hitter, but at a muscular 6 feet and 202 pounds, he played baseball with a fullback’s ferocity. “When Hank came down the base path, the whole earth trembled,” said Johnny Pesky, the shortstop for the Boston Red Sox.

Bauer said: “It’s no fun playing if you don’t make somebody else unhappy. I do everything hard.”

Henry Albert Bauer was born July 31, 1922, in East St. Louis, Ill., where he admired the aggressive style of the St. Louis Cardinals, renowned in the 1930s as the Gashouse Gang. He was the youngest of nine children of an Austrian immigrant who had lost a leg working in an aluminum mill and later made a living as a bartender. A brother described Bauer as “a real dead-end kid who always was going around with a bloody nose.”

As a youngster, he played high school and American Legion baseball. After graduating from high school, he joined a pipe fitters’ union and repaired furnaces in a beer-bottling plant. But in 1941, his brother Herman, who was playing in the Chicago White Sox farm system, arranged a tryout for Hank, who batted and threw right-handed. Hank won an assignment to the Oshkosh team in the Class D Wisconsin State League.

Bauer’s baseball future seemed to recede in January 1942, when he joined the Marines soon after Pearl Harbor. He spent nearly three years of World War II in the South Pacific as a combat platoon leader, sustaining 24 attacks of malaria, receiving shrapnel wounds in his back on Guam and in a thigh on Okinawa, and winning 11 campaign ribbons, 2 Bronze Stars and 2 Purple Hearts.

After the war, he returned to pipe fitting, but a Yankees scout remembered him and signed him to the Yankees’ farm team in Quincy, Ill. Two years later, he was called up to New York at 26.

In the 1951 World Series, which the Yankees took from the New York Giants, 4 games to 2, Bauer almost single-handedly won the sixth and deciding game, hitting a bases-loaded triple and making a diving catch of a line drive for the game’s final out with the tying run on base.

The four home runs Bauer hit in his last Series, in 1958, when the Yankees beat the Milwaukee Braves, 4 games to 3, is the second-highest total in a Series after Reggie Jackson’s five in 1977. (The other players to hit four: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Duke Snider and Gene Tenace.)

With his talents in decline, the Yankees traded Bauer to the Kansas City Athletics in 1959 as part of the Maris deal. In June 1961, he replaced Joe Gordon as manager of the A’s, but after two years of ninth-place finishes in the 10-team league, he quit and moved to the Orioles in 1963 as a coach. He became the manager in 1964. When the Orioles finished third behind the Yankees, he was named A.L. manager of the year.

He earned that honor again in 1966, when he managed the Orioles to a 97-63 record and a World Series sweep of the Dodgers. A pitcher on that Baltimore team, Steve Barber, died Sunday at 67.

Bauer remained with the Orioles until 1968 and spent a final season managing the Athletics in 1969.

Bauer — of whom Mantle once said, “He taught me how to dress, how to talk and how to drink” — also had a role in some Yankees history off the field. In one incident, in 1957, a group of Yankees players, accompanied by their wives, became involved in a confrontation with another group of patrons at the Copacabana nightclub in Manhattan. One, a Bronx delicatessen owner, sued Bauer, accusing him of punching him. The man lost the lawsuit after catcher Yogi Berra testified, “Nobody never hit nobody.”

Bauer could be unforgiving, though, if he felt his teammates’ off-the-field activities were hurting the Yankees’ on-the-field performance. Pitcher Whitey Ford remembered how Bauer reacted when he thought players like Ford and Mantle were overindulging themselves after hours: “He pinned me to the wall of the dugout one day and said, ‘Don’t mess with my money.’ ”

Friday, February 09, 2007

Smith: Sad end to a troubled life


The small print in this Trimspa ad says "Be Envied"

By Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY

She came from nothing, but she lived bigger than most.

A small-town girl who was determined to make something of herself, Anna Nicole Smith had the quintessential train-wreck life: intriguing, eye-popping, tragic.

The high school dropout-turned-dazzler, who died Thursday at 39 in a hospital in Hollywood, Fla., was fascinating to celebrity watchers — not because she was an A-list star but because she was an unpredictable blond bombshell who was always in the middle of controversy.

She married a billionaire 60 years her senior and then battled his heirs over the estate, ending with a victory at the Supreme Court.

The world watched as she battled her weight, gaining, losing, then gaining again.

She became a TV star, riding the reality show mania, in a series that offered a candid look at how a celebrity lived.

In a span of days, she gave birth to a daughter, and her 20-year-old son was found dead in her recovery room. Now Dannielynn, 5 months, is without a mother, and her father's identity is uncertain.

Smith's former lawyer Lenard Leeds told TMZ.com it's no secret that Smith "had a very troubled life" and added that she had "so many, many problems."

Still, she flirted and laughed her way through life.

"She was light and fluffy," Tom O'Neill of In Touch Weekly said on CNN late Thursday.

Said Rob Chilton, features director of OK! magazine: "She was a great pop icon, almost like a cartoon character."

Shots of her on red carpets vamping like her childhood idol Marilyn Monroe ran on cable news channels for hours after the news broke Thursday, proof that Smith had achieved her goal of finding a place in the spotlight.

Smith made everyone laugh along with her — and at her — until it just wasn't funny anymore.

At 17, she met Billy Smith, a co-worker at Jim's Krispy Fried Chicken, and they had baby Daniel. Two years later, they divorced. She began working at topless bars in Houston to pay the bills.

Her nickname was "Sweet Cheeks." Though her body was voluptuous, her breasts weren't, and she was allowed to work only the afternoon shift.

Still, she believed she was destined for greater things.

The first order of business: breast implants. In 1991, at 24, she entered a Playboy contest and won. In 1992, she listed her "turn-ons" as "Men who wear braces, cowboys! I also get off on scary movies." In 1993, she was Playmate of the Year. (Founder Hugh Hefner issued a statement Thursday saying he was "saddened" by the news of Smith's death.)

After that, she was offered a modeling job for Guess? jeans.



"I didn't know what Guess? jeans were," she told People magazine in an interview at the time. "I just shopped at Wal-Mart and Kmart and stuff like that."

In 1994 she made her big-screen debut in Naked Gun 331/3: The Final Insult.

Anyone who didn't happen to see that movie had probably heard of her anyway: It was the same time she married oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, who was in a wheelchair and more than 60 years her senior. They had met years earlier when she was an exotic dancer.

Though branded a gold digger, she seemed to have found happiness with her husband.

When she was defending her marriage to Marshall, she told In Touch: "Nobody has ever respected me or done things for me. So when Howard came along, it was a blessing."

But the blessing was short-lived. His death less than two years later, in 1995, left behind a fortune estimated at $1.6 billion. She was still fighting for a share of the money when she died.

Smith battled her weight and struggled with other addictions. She acknowledged that she had a problem with prescription drugs.

Her wild behavior was on display on The Anna Nicole Show, her often-bawdy reality series that aired on E! from 2002 to 2003. But it also showed her softer side.

Children and dogs — she had a toy poodle named Sugar Pie — were her true loves. Her son, Daniel, whom she raised as a single mother, was often by her side.

"I don't have any good memories from Christmas when I was a girl," Smith told People in 2004. "So I tried to make them special for Daniel. We never missed a trip to the mall to see Santa to take pictures."

Gabriel Rotello, who directed a 2003 Showtime documentary about Smith, said in People: "Even her most vehement detractors reluctantly admitted that she was a good mother. Daniel was just a really well-adjusted, smart kid."

She was devastated by his death Sept. 10. The cause, as determined by a medical examiner, was an accidental interaction of methadone and two antidepressants.

Last November in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Smith said: "I'll never accept that (Daniel is) gone. I don't understand why God took him and didn't take me."

Since then, Smith's troubles seemed to double.

She was hospitalized for pneumonia for a week in November. She was sued, along with diet-supplement company TrimSpa — for which she has been a spokeswoman and a model client — in a class-action lawsuit that claimed the company's marketing of a weight-loss pill was false or misleading.

Dannielynn is the subject of a DNA test battle with Smith's former boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, who says he is the father of the child. Smith's longtime friend and lawyer, Howard K. Stern — with whom Smith shared a commitment ceremony on Sept. 28 in the Bahamas — also says he is the girl's father.

Considering her difficult life — and especially her recent past — few were surprised at Thursday's news.

"I am very, very sad, but I am not shocked," Smith's former publicist, David Granoff, told MSNBC. He had seen Smith on television Wednesday, "and she had no spark any more."

But Smith's star tale is far from over.

"This is a massive story," OK! magazine's Chilton says. "We'll now see all the stories about how she died and loads of conspiracy stories and loads of rumors about was it drink or drugs?"

And, he says, her memory will be that of someone who was a larger-than-life celebrity.

"She really was a celebrity. That sums her up perfectly. She had loads of charisma, and she was always doing something crazy. There was always an Anna Nicole Smith story floating around."

Contributing: Karen Thomas

Posted 2/8/2007 4:10 PM ET
Updated 2/9/2007 7:37 AM ET

Hank Bauer Dead at 84


Ex-Yankee Bauer dead at 84

By BILL MADDEN

The New York Daily News


Hank Bauer, the rough-hewn, much-decorated ex-Marine who went on to become an integral player on nine Yankee championship teams from 1949-59 and set a record that still stands of hitting in 17 consecutive World Series games, died today of lung cancer. He was 84.

Throughout his 14-year career, during which he hit .277 with 164 homers, Bauer epitomized grit, hustle and professionalism, although he attained his most enduring notoriety as the central figure in the famous drunken brawl involving six Yankee players and patrons at the Copacabana, May 16, 1957. Bauer, along with Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Billy Martin and Johnny Kucks, were celebrating Martin’s 29th birthday party when, according to various reports, members of the party at the table next to them began heckling entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. and a fight broke out, with one of the patrons, a delicatessen owner named Edwin Jones, suffering a broken nose.

Jones claimed he had been cold-cocked by Bauer, but when no witnesses were able to corroborate his story, charges were dropped. For their part, however, Yankee management fined Bauer, Mantle, Ford, Berra and Martin $1,000 each and Kucks $500, and a month later traded Martin, who they considered to be a bad influence on the other players, to the Kansas City Athletics. For the rest of his life, at banquets and oldtimers day events, Bauer denied having thrown the punch that felled Jones but when asked who did, he would feign ignorance and wink.

Perhaps one reason Bauer was fingered as the perpetrator in the Copa incident was his tough guy reputation born out of his experience in the Pacific theatre of World War II for which he received two Purple Hearts for bravery and two bronze stars. After capturing an airfield in Okinawa, 58 of Bauer’s 64 platoon mates were killed in action. Bauer also fought at Iwo Jima and was wounded by shrapnel, pieces of which remained in his leg throughout his playing days.

As a player, Bauer was the unofficial Yankee “enforcer” customarily straightening out players who failed to hustle with the terse “you’re messin’ with my money” admonishment.

“He was my best friend in life,” said Moose Skowron, the Yankees first basebman from 1954-61. “When I came up in ’54, we won 103 games and still didn’t win the pennant. Hank told me, ‘We win every year. This is all your fault.’ I told him, I did all I could. I hit .340 that year, but Hank was just getting on me.”

At the conclusion of the war, Bauer, a native of East St. Louis, Mo., signed with the Yankees’ Triple A farm Kansas City Blues and two years later made his debut in the majors. In his first full season, 1949, the righthanded-hitting Bauer batted .272 with 10 homers as a platoon corner outfielder. He would continue to platoon, mostly with Gene Woodling, until 1952 when manager Casey Stengel installed him in right field and batted him primarily leadoff even though he wasn’t blessed with blazing speed. As Stengel explained: “The fella can hit me a home run sometimes, he can go from first to third on a single and he can score from first on a double.”

Bauer’s most productive seasons were 1955 and ’56 when he had 97 and 96 RBI respectively. He hit .429 in the 1955 World Series against the Dodgers and in 1958 led the Yankees’ charge from a 3-1 deficit against the Milwaukee Braves to another world championship, batting .323 with a team-leading 10 hits and eight RBI and homers in the first, second, third and sixth games. The one “downer” for Bauer in that Series was when Warren Spahn held him hitless in Game Four to end his record streak of 17 straight games with a hit.

In the years afterward, he said often the Series hitting streak was his proudest accomplishment.




After hitting a career-low .238 in 1959, Bauer was sent to the Athletics in the big seven-player trade that brought Roger Maris to the Bronx. In 1961, his final season as a player, Bauer was named manager of the Athletics, then moved to the Baltimore Orioles as their skipper in 1964. He managed the Orioles through 1968 and in 1966 achieved one of his greatest triumphs (and eighth championship ring) when his O’s swept the heavily-favored Dodgers in the World Series. For that he earned a place on the cover of Time magazine.

Originally published on February 9, 2007

Rich Lowry: The Church of Climate Panic


February 9, 2007 12:00 AM

http://www.nationalreview.com


Hot stuff.


Sophisticated people in Western societies don’t stand in public and shout, “The end is near!” the way a nutty preacher does. They don’t cut their scalps the way Shia Muslims do in a rite of self-flagellation to mark the Day of Ashura. They do none of these things, because they have the issue of global warming instead.

The planet is indeed getting warmer (by about .7 degrees Celsius during the 20th century), and carbon emissions are contributing to it. This is a problem that deserves study and debate about what realistically can be done about it. But it doesn’t justify the bizarre panic that suggests the issue has become a trendy vehicle for traditional fears of the apocalypse and for rituals of guilt and expiation.

The latest assessment of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the Vatican of the Church of Climate Panic — prompted apocalyptic headlines worldwide. The New York Times dubbed it “a grim and powerful assessment of the future of the planet.” Actually, the summary report was less grim than prior reports, but grimness is the only acceptable mood when it comes to climate change.

Christopher Monckton, a former adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, points to the neglected data in the IPCC summary. It “more than halved its high-end best estimate of the rise in sea level by (the year) 2100 from 3 feet to just 17 inches.” In his scare-documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore posited a catastrophic sea-level rise of more than 20 feet (feet, not inches).

Monckton notes that, “The U.N. has cut its estimate of our net effect on climate by more than a third,” and, “It now thinks pollutant particles reflecting sunlight back to space have a very strong cooling effect.” As for the increase in temperature, Monckton writes, the best estimate for the effect of the CO2 level reaching “560 parts per million, twice the level of 1750, was 3.5 C in the 2001 report. Now it is down to 3 C.”

But no editors are going to run blaring headlines, “IPCC Climbs Down Slightly From Direst Predictions.” The report was, in any case, crafted to avoid any such less-than-grim headlines. “I hope this report will shock people,” said the chairman of the IPCC.

Shock tactics inevitably mean simplifying in an area of unimaginable complexity. No one knows how to create a reliable model of the planet’s climate, and inconvenient anomalies muddy the story line of the warming zealots. From 1940 to 1975, the global temperature fell even as CO2 emission rose. Since 2001, global temperatures have only gone up a statistically insignificant 0.03 degrees Celsius. And in recent years, the oceans have actually gotten cooler.

None of this, obviously, is to deny global warming, but to introduce a note of caution about the calls for individual and collective self-denial that accompany the warming panic. If people feel better about using compact fluorescent light bulbs, so be it, but schemes to mandate drastic reductions in carbon emissions based on avoiding an entirely speculative calamity are folly.

Even the Kyoto Treaty, which would have only a slight effect on global climate even if fully implemented, is unrealistic. Earnest, well-meaning Canada would have to reduce its emissions by a whooping (and impossible) one third to meet its Kyoto target by 2012. That great climate scold, Europe, has been increasing its CO(2) emissions at a rate faster than ours, according to Christopher Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. We can crack-down on our emissions as much as we like, but China will soon pass the U.S. as the world’s greatest polluter and is robustly unrepentant about it.

The sensible ways to try to mitigate global warming and counteract its effects in the long run are the development of new energy technologies in the West, as well as economic development and aid programs for those third-world countries that are most vulnerable to disease and sea-level rises. These solutions won’t, however, satiate the deeper atavistic urges behind the global-warming panic. For that, people will have to head to their nearest place of worship.

© 2007 by King Features Syndicate

Jonah Goldberg: Global Cooling Costs Too Much

February 9, 2007 6:00 AM
http://www.nationalreview.com/


A woman walks near a power plant's cooling tower and smoke stacks on the outskirts of Beijing February 1, 2007.

There are no solutions in the realm of the politically possible.

Public policy is all about trade-offs. Economists understand this better than politicians because voters want to have their cake and eat it too, and politicians think whatever is popular must also be true.

Economists understand that if we put a chicken in every pot, it might cost us an aircraft carrier or a hospital. We can build a hospital, but it might come at the expense of a little patch of forest. We can protect a wetland, but that will make a new school more expensive.

You get it already. But in the history of trade-offs, never has there been a better one than trading a tiny amount of global warming for a massive amount of global prosperity.

Earth got about 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer in the 20th century while it increased its GDP by 1,800 percent, by one estimate. How much of that 0.7 degrees can be laid at the feet of that 1,800 percent is unknowable, but let’s stipulate that all of the warming was the result of our prosperity and that this warming is in fact indisputably bad (which is hardly obvious).

That’s still an amazing bargain. Life expectancies in the United States increased from about 47 years to about 77 years. Literacy, medicine, leisure and even, in many respects, the environment have improved mightily over the course of the 20th century, at least in the prosperous West.

Given the option of getting another 1,800 percent richer in exchange for another 0.7 degrees warmer, I’d take the heat in a heartbeat. Of course, warming might get more expensive for us (and we might get a lot richer than 1,800 percent too). There are tipping points in every sphere of life, and what cost us little in the 20th century could cost us enormously in the 21st — at least that’s what we’re told.

And boy, are we told. We’re (deceitfully) told polar bears are the canaries in the global coal mine. Al Gore even hosts an apocalyptic infomercial on the subject, complete with fancy renderings of New York City underwater.

Skeptics are heckled for calling attention to global warming scare tactics. But the simple fact is that activists need to hype the threat, and not just because that’s what the media demand of them. Their proposed remedies cost so much money — bidding starts at 1 percent of global GDP a year and rises quickly — they have to ratchet up the fear factor just to get the conversation started.

The costs are just too high for too little payoff. Even if the Kyoto Protocol were put into effect tomorrow — a total impossibility — we’d barely affect global warming. Jerry Mahlman of the National Center for Atmospheric Research speculated in Science magazine that “it might take another 30 Kyotos over the next century” to beat back global warming.

Thirty Kyotos! That’s going to be tough considering that China alone plans on building an additional 2,200 coal plants by 2030. Oh, but because China (like India) is exempt from Kyoto as a developing country, the West will just have to reduce its own emissions even more.

A more persuasive cost-benefit analysis hinges not on prophecies of environmental doom but on geopolitics. We buy too much oil from places we shouldn’t, which makes us dependent on nasty regimes and makes those regimes nastier.

Environmentalists like to claim the “energy independence” issue, but it’s not a neat fit. We could be energy independent soon enough with coal and nuclear power. But coal contributes to global warming, and nuclear power is icky. So, instead, we’re going to massively subsidize the government-brewed moonshine called ethanol.

Here again, the benefits barely outweigh the costs. Ethanol requires almost as much energy to make as it provides, and the costs to the environment and the economy may be staggering.

Frankly, I don’t think the trade-off is worth it — yet. The history of capitalism and technology tells us that what starts out expensive and arduous becomes cheap and easy over time.

Lewis and Clark took months to do what a truck carrying Tickle-Me Elmos does every week. Technology 10 years from now could solve global warming at a fraction of today’s costs. What technologies? I don’t know. Maybe fusion. Maybe hydrogen. Maybe we’ll harness the perpetual motion of Sen. Joe Biden’s mouth.

The fact is we can’t afford to fix global warming right now, in part because poor countries want to get rich, too. And rich countries, where the global warming debate is settled, are finding even the first of 30 Kyotos too fiscally onerous. There are no solutions in the realm of the politically possible. So why throw trillions of dollars into “remedies” that even their proponents concede won’t solve the problem?

© 2007 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Peter Suderman: A Mine is a Terrible Thing to Waste



Riot police carry a Greenpeace activist away from the Romanian Environment Ministry in Bucharest in 2006. The activists were protesting a planned gold mine in the Transylvanian town of Rosia Montana, which has been the subject of documentaries by both environmentalists and corporations.


February 8, 2007 12:00 AM

Mine Your Own Business exposes green hypocrisy.

http://www.nationalreview.com

February 8, 2007

It’s not often you find environmentalists staging a protest outside of National Geographic. But in mid-January, a handful of them gathered outside the magazine’s Washington, D.C. headquarters to rally against the organization’s decision to rent out a theater for the Washington premiere of the documentary Mine Your Own Business, a movie that tracks the efforts of environmentalists to stop the development of mines that promise to invigorate flagging economies in destitute regions across the world.

With stacks of photocopied handouts and hand-scrawled poster board signs bearing slogans like “Full Disclosure,” the motley crew of activists stalked the streets pushing papers at passers by and engaging in heated debate with free-market counter-protesters and even the filmmakers themselves. Nor were they the only ones going after the film. Earlier, Greenpeace released a statement urging National Geographic not go forth with the showing and comparing the movie to pornography and Nazi propaganda. This was despite the fact that National Geographic was not endorsing the showing, but merely renting out their theater space.

The rhetorical overkill of the response was telling: The environmental movement is clearly afraid of this film, and it should be. Mine Your Own Business, Irish filmmaker Phelim McAleer’s clear-eyed look at the true impacts of mining and the nefarious tactics of its opponents, exposes the self-satisfied delusions of the environmental Left, putting lie to a host of deadly, anti-growth canards and revealing the smug elitism of many green advocates.

This is, perhaps, not all that surprising. The ideas espoused by many greens are farcical enough to begin with. But even for someone used to their whoppers, it’s almost shocking the lies, misrepresentations, and condescending behavior that McAleeny manages to catch on film. With great care and thoroughness, the movie deconstructs the Left’s anti-growth narrative of pastoral tranquility and replaces it with something truly shocking: actual local sentiment.

Mine Your Own Business looks primarily at ongoing efforts to stop Canadian company Gabriel Resources from building a gold mine in Rosia Montana, Romania. The region is poor, with many people still residing in tiny, Communist-era block apartments and forced to use outhouses in a place in which freezing temperatures are common. Most anti-mine activists, of course, live far away, surrounded by modern comforts. But despite this, they claim to know what the locals want.

McAleer, on the other hand, figured the locals might be in a better position to explain their needs. In the film, he walks the streets of Rosia Montana and two other potential mine locations conducting interviews with area residents. Every one of them repeats a variant on one idea: What they really want is to work, and the mines would provide them that opportunity. By talking directly to locals, and by airing their ideas rather than claiming to speak for them, McAleer beats supposedly pro-local environmentalists at their own game.

Environmentalists, of course, talk endlessly about preserving traditional ways of life, but locals don’t want to preserve poverty and hardship. They want a chance to provide a more comfortable existence for themselves and their families. McAleer catches Francoise Heidebroek, who works with an anti-mining NGO, claiming that Rosia Montana residents would “prefer to ride a horse than drive a car.” When McAleer asks locals if they’d prefer to clop about in freezing temperatures on a horse, they just laugh at him. Heidebroek, it's useful to note, sequesters herself away in the modernized capitol city of Bucharest. If she wants to saddle up every morning, well, I say good luck. But there’s no reason that her equestrian whimsy should force actual Rosia Montana residents to do the same.

But Heidobroek’s wistful fantasies about poverty are nothing compared to those of the World Wildlife Fund’s Mark Fenn. Fenn opposes a proposed mine in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar on the grounds that it would destroy “the quaintness, the small-town feeling” that he so admires.

Of course, while Fenn, who boasts on camera of his $35,000 boat and the foundation of his new beachfront home, luxuriates in first world comfort, most of the town’s residents live in dire poverty. When asked why locals should be denied the economic opportunity that would come with the mine, he calmly explains that, although they might not have terribly good healthcare, or shelter, or nutrition, they have a stress-free life that can be valued by — I kid you not — the number of times they smile per day. Even if they did get money, he explains, they wouldn’t know how to spend it. As he tells it, they tend to blow their cash on parties, booze, and stereo systems. Not everyone, it appears, can have his taste in beach houses and catamarans.

Fenn’s attitude isn’t just witless, it’s sickening, and it’s indicative of the general level of smug, out-of-touch elitism that haunts the environmental movement. “Regional character,” “simple life,” “quaintness,” “small-town feeling,” “local history” — these are just warm, fuzzy phrases trotted out by anti-growth environmentalists to deny wealth and opportunities to residents of poor regions. And, as in Fenn’s case, they’re often markers of ugly condescension toward third-world residents.

McAleer, on the other hand, treats the locals in the areas he visits with respect. He asks one Fort Dauphin resident what she’d do with the money she’d get for a job, and she says she’d buy an item at a low price and sell it for a higher price — a line that drew much applause from the audience at the premiere.

Before venturing into the world of documentary film, McAleer worked as a journalist for the Financial Times and the U.K. Sunday Times. The experience shows. Mine Your Own Business works in no small part because of its smart, thoughtful storytelling, its expertly edited juxtapositions of activist claims and local realities, and its strong characterizations. Nor is it burdened by any of the lazy boosterism that infects so much documentary filmmaking. Instead, it’s a compellingly rendered journalistic narrative that casts a skeptical eye on many of the dubious claims of the environmental Left.

McAleer, of course, has his biases. The film begins by explaining that much of its funding came from Gabriel Resources, the company that wants to put in the mine. But McAleer also makes clear that he took the money on the condition that the company would have no editorial control. In a question and answer session after the film, he claimed to come from a liberal background and said that, on his first trip to Rosia Montana, he had intended to tell a typical story about big bad corporations. The facts of the story, however, were too obvious to ignore.

Before the film began, Thor Halvorssen, founder of the Moving Picture Institute, an organization devoted to aiding in the creation of films that promote a free society (and one of the groups responsible for the film’s production), introduced it by noting the protesters outside and the virulent reaction from Greenpeace. “To people who are intolerantly devoted to their own views,” he said, “this is pornography — political pornography.” The comparison is strong, but apt. As Mine Your Own Business makes clear, the left’s environmentalist fringe sees nothing as more revolting than the truth.

Full disclosure: The Washington, D.C. premiere I attended was partially sponsored by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) which, at the time of showing, was my employer. Neither I nor CEI had any input or involvement whatsoever into the film’s production.

— Peter Suderman is managing editor of NRO.

Clyde Wilson: The Lincoln Fable, Part I



Wednesday, February 07, 2007

http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org


Alas! it is delusion all;
The future cheats us from afar,
Nor can we be what we recall,
Nor dare we think on what we are.

—Lord Byron



“The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.”

—Psalm 56:21


In our time M.E. Bradford was the pioneer who blazed a new trail into the wilderness of the Lincoln legacy where lurk so many of the evil demons of our public life. Several years ago, when I began to explore the dark and bloody ground on my own, I used the label “The Lincoln Myth” to describe the yawning gap between Lincoln the historical person and the Lincoln icon that is the commanding symbol of America.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I knew that “myth” was not quite the correct term, but I was consciously setting up a counter to the fashionable history-mongering then and now underway in regard to the so-called “Myth of the Lost Cause.” According to Establishment historians, everything favorable that Southerners (or anybody) believe about the Confederates—their courage, skill, dedication, sacrifice, principle—amounts to nothing but a deceitful “Lost Cause Myth” that was invented after the fact by Southerners to put a pretty face on their evil deeds and disastrous failure. This now mainstream characterization of the central event of American history is an ideological reassertion of the old Radical Republican stance, with a bit of Marxism thrown in, masquerading as expert knowledge. Among its many flaws, it abuses the term “myth,” misappropriating an intellectual-sounding word as a substitute for falsehood.


Properly considered, a myth is neither true nor false—it is art. It is a story rising out of the collective unconscious to give a meaningful pattern to a people’s history and nourish their identity. Some myths that we know come from remote times and other peoples—the siege of Troy, Romulus and Remus. Some are idealized versions of more recent but poorly known history—King Arthur, Joan of Arc, Robin Hood. It never occurs to scholars who prattle about the Lost Cause Myth that they are as human as the people they libel and that they may be labouring under a few “myths” of their own. In 2002 I suggested to the purveyors of the Lost Cause myth as historical explanation, that before they dismissed the whole Southern case as dishonest or deluded mythology, they ought to


research a little into the extravagant glorification of the Union cause that dominated American discourse for decades after the war and involved, among other things, the virtual (and blasphemous) deification of Lincoln. That mythology persists powerfully to this day. It is at least as unfactual as the “Lost Cause” and the source of far more evil consequences. A little admiration for Lee and the boys in grey by their descendants and others is harmless in comparison with a self-righteous stamping-out-the-grapes-of-wrath mentality.



I now see that the Lincoln story qualifies as fable rather than myth. My Webster’s Collegiate has as its first definition of fable: “a fictitious narrative or statement.” A myth is a product of the folk, while a fable usually has a known author or authors and time of creation. A myth contains a kind of poetic meaning even if it is not literally accurate. By this reckoning, the Lincoln story is a fable. We know when and how it was created and we know that it is essentially fictitious. The interesting question to be asked, is why was the fable created and what purpose does its false story serve?

For most countries, the iconic national person is a figure of heroic action fighting for his people—Joan of Arc, William Tell, Frederick the Great, Simon Bolivar, Garibaldi. This was the role filled by Washington for earlier Americans—Washington the brave and virtuous leader on horseback or the incorruptible Roman lawgiver. What are we to make of a people who replace that Washington as their commanding national symbol with a corporate attorney in an armchair? Nobody has ever been able to make to make Lincoln into a soldier. Even his brief active militia service is treated mainly as a source of humorous stories. They have a little better luck with Lincoln the Lawgiver, by highly inventive interpretations of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address, which uses powerful prose to sanctify a deceitful history and a barbarous war of conquest.



One postwar Southern commentator remarked that “the dead Lincoln was worshiped because the living one had no admirers.” It is true that the living Lincoln was not highly valued by those on his side. It was the circumstance of his assassination that forwarded the creation of the fable. Stanton emerged from Lincoln’s death chamber to proclaim “Now he belongs to the ages.” For the previous four years Stanton had freely referred to Lincoln as “the Gorilla” and considered him a third-rate man unequal to his duties, who had to be managed into moving in the right direction. (Somewhat like how Dick Cheney must view George W. Bush.)


So one aspect of the proliferating Lincoln fable was the cynical use far into the future of the fable of a martyred leader of supreme virtue for emotional ammunition to keep the Republican party in power. Another aspect of the fable is far more troublesome—the creation of Lincoln the Christ figure. It can be and has been thoroughly documented that this icon was created in post-assassination sermons. As a historian two generations back put it: “That the Lord had sent Lincoln to earth as his mysterious representative, to die for his people, was a belief that rose from many Easter sermons and grew with time to blend into the faith that the humble backwoodsman had been by some miracle the savior of the Union.” The literature that created the Lincoln/Christ is vast and stomach-turningly blasphemous. And, of course, it is never asked just what made saving the Union such a divine cause.

The Lincoln thus imagined and propagated was a fictitious narrative which has long been proclaimed to contain the true account of American history and the essential meaning of America. The fable gained its purchase in the midst of war, revolution, assassination, violent and vengeful self-righteousness, and most important and worst of all—religious disintegration. Lincoln the Christ figure was thrust into the vacuum created by the erosion of belief that had been steadily undermining Northern Protestantism in the previous decades. Out of public anxiety and near hysteria was created the religion of Americanism: America The Father, Lincoln The Son, and Democracy The Holy Spirit.


To this day and to the immense peril of our souls and bodies, many of our fellow citizens are incapable of distinguishing between God and “America” or comprehending that one who occupies the throne of Lincoln and uses the hallowed terms that Lincoln used can be capable of wrong.

(to be continued)

This article was drawn from a paper presented at the Abbeville Institute conference on “Re-Thinking Lincoln,” July 7-15 at Franklin, Louisiana. Audiotapes of this and presentations by Thomas DiLorenzo, Donald Livingston, H.A. Scott Trask, Joseph Stromberg, and others can be obtained from www.abbevilleinstitute.org.

Clyde Wilson is a professor of history at the University of South Carolina, editor of
The Papers of John C. Calhoun, author of Carolina Cavalier, and a contributing
editor for Chronicles.

Larry Elder: Global Warming Turns People Gay



http://www.townhall.com

Thursday, February 8, 2007


Global warming alarmists -- despite their best efforts -- seem incapable of convincing the Bush administration. So here's my suggestion. Make the scientists tell the president that global warming turns people gay.

The idea came to me after seeing a Super Bowl Snickers commercial, and learning of the "controversy" that followed it. In the ad, two guys chewing on either end of the candy bar inadvertently touch lips. Shocked, they decide to do something "manly" and demonstrate their heterosexuality. How? They pull down their shirts and rip off their chest hairs. A pro-gay-rights group called the ad homophobic and demanded the Snickers people stop showing it. Clearly America runs rampant with gay-haters.

Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," scared more people than the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." The former vice president tells us the debate within the scientific community concerning the consequences of global warming is over. But the Bush administration yawned. And just last week, something called the IPCC -- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- a group sponsored by the United Nations, also sounded the alarm. But, again, the Bush administration remains unconvinced.

But the gay thing might work. That is, assuming you can get everybody on board. Unfortunately, some pesky, politically incorrect scientists are telling the global-warming alarmists, "Calm down." Who are these wing-nuts?

A professor of meteorology at MIT, Richard Lindzen, for example, says, "I think it's mainly just like little kids locking themselves in dark closets to see how much they can scare each other and themselves. And there's a lot of confusion in this and, you know, at the heart of it, we're talking of a few tenths of a degree change in temperature. None of it in the last eight years, by the way. . . . [I]f there's anything that there is a consensus on, [it is that we] will do very little to affect climate. . . . And I think future generations are not going to blame us for anything except for being silly, for letting a few tenths of a degree panic us. And I think nobody is arguing about whether our climate is changing. It's always changing. Sea level has been rising since the end of the last ice age. The experts on it in the IPCC have freely acknowledged there's no strong evidence it's accelerating."

Then there's Chris Landsea, the scientist who resigned from the IPCC last year, accusing the organization of being "subverted, its neutrality lost." "It is beyond me why my [IPCC] colleagues would utilize the media to push an unsupported agenda that recent hurricane activity has been due to global warming," wrote Landsea. "My view is that when people identify themselves as being associated with the IPCC and then make pronouncements far outside current scientific understandings that this will harm the credibility of climate change science and will in the longer term diminish our role in public policy."

What to do about the author of "The Andromeda Strain," Dr. Michael Crichton? No climatology specialist, Crichton recently wrote a book of fiction called "State of Fear." The protagonist challenges the "conventional wisdom" of the global warming alarmists. In preparation for his book, Crichton researched scientific literature on global warming. His conclusion? A lot of it is hype. "I do claim that open and frank discussion of the data, and of the issues, is being suppressed," writes Crichton. "Leading scientific journals have taken strong editorial positions on the side of global warming, which, I argue, they have no business doing. Under the circumstances, any scientist who has doubts understands clearly that they will be wise to mute their expression. . . . [T]he intermixing of science and politics is a bad combination, with a bad history."

The alarmists want the United States to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol. This requires spending gobs of money to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But during the Clinton administration, the Senate voted 95-0 to refuse to ratify the Kyoto accord if it excluded emissions from countries like China and India. It does.

Sixty Canadian scientists wrote a letter to their country's prime minister, urging an "independent climate-science review," because "billions of dollars earmarked for implementation of the [Kyoto] protocol in Canada will be squandered without a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science."

Others, like economist Julian Morris, suggest that spending all this money on Kyoto impoverishes the planet with very little gain. "But the same people who predict massive climate changes," says Morris, "also predict that in order for those climate changes to occur, we would have had enormous amounts of economic growth. So, the poorest people in the world will no longer be poor. . . . The reality is that in the future, people will be wealthy enough to adapt to pretty much any change that is likely to happen."

Confused? Me, too. So let's put all this uncertainty and speculation to rest, and get moving: Global warming turns people gay.


Larry Elder is host of the Larry Elder Show on talk radio and author of Showdown : Confronting Bias, Lies, and the Special Interests That Divide America.

Megan Basham: Oscar-Winning Monster Mouths Off


Proof that the age-old adage "children are to be seen and not heard" doesn't just apply to children. - jtf

http://www.townhall.com

Thursday, February 8, 2007


In a rare example of journalistic integrity, CNN correspondent Rick Sanchez actually called A-list actress Charlize Theron (most famous for her Oscar-winning portrayal of serial killer Eileen Aileen Wuornos in the film Monster) on the carpet for the anti-American idiocy she proceeded to spew during their interview last Sunday.

Promoting her latest project, East of Havana, a film about Cuban rappers, Theron went on a tirade about her adopted home country that left even the broadcast veteran embarrassed. Asked about Cuba’s lack of freedom under Castro, Theron said to Sanchez, "I would argue that there's a lack of freedom in America."

Stunned, the anchor checked to make sure he understood the actress correctly. But even after Sanchez sensibly pointed out that people aren’t incarcerated for their political beliefs in the U.S., Theron stumbled on, comparing Castro's jailing of dissidents to media outlets firing reporters for failing to meet appropriate standards of objective reporting (or in television’s case, just for pulling low ratings).

Sanchez then pressed the star further, offering her every chance to recant her ridiculous statement, but the blonde refused to take the bait. (Apparently nobody bothered to tell Theron that Sanchez is of Cuban descent, and like many of his heritage, probably not as inclined to idolize the communist dictator as most of Hollywood seems to be.) “Do you think the lack of freedoms in Cuba are parallel to the lack of freedoms in the United States?” he asked. “Well, I would,” answered Theron, “I would compare those two. Yes, definitely.”

Finally Sanchez stated the obvious: “It sounds like you don't have a very high opinion of the United States.” Theron tried to claim otherwise despite her disparagements, but seconds later, completely flummoxed, the woman Harper’s Bazaar called “a smart, down-to-earth dame” fell back on the ploy so many actresses before her have resorted to. Said the South American bombshell to Sanchez, “I want to make out with you right now.”

She may be an Academy Award winner, but subtle, she ain’t.

And there is more reason to applaud Sanchez than for merely his impressive interview techniques and that is for his rare-in-his-business willingness to call them like he sees them. Rather than cover for a powerful film industry insider (and a stunning one at that) like many of his colleagues have in the past, Sanchez observed that Theron’s bizarre outburst was simply, ``A way for a beautiful woman to get a guy to change the subject.''

No doubt the sexy Ms. Theron was doubly surprised. Not only did a member of what is supposed to be the fawning entertainment media insist she back up her audacious statements, but he was then completely unmoved by her clumsy attempts to appeal to his, ummm, baser nature—and he wasn’t even from that horrible Fox network.

So kudos to you, Mr. Sanchez. You may never get the chance, but if you do, can you go after fellow Castro-lovers Steven Spielberg and Robert Redford next? If you’re lucky, neither one will offer to make out with you.


Megan Basham is a film critic for Townhall.com

Ann Coulter: Yellowcake and Yellow Journalism


Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson

http://www.anncoulter.com

February 8, 2007

To see how leftist history is created, you need to tune into the nut-cable stations and watch their coverage of the Scooter Libby trial. On MSNBC, they're covering the trial like it's the Normandy Invasion, starring Elvis Presley, as told by Joseph Goebbels.


MSNBC's "reportage" consists of endless repetition of arbitrary assertions, half-truths, and thoroughly debunked canards. No one else cares about the trial – except presumably Scooter Libby – so the passionate Left is allowed to invent a liberal fable without correction.

Night after night, it is blithely asserted on "Hardball" that Joe Wilson's trip to Niger debunked the claim that Saddam Hussein had been seeking enriched uranium from Niger.

As David Shuster reported last week: "Wilson goes and finds out that the claim that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger is not accurate."

There have been massive investigations into this particular claim of "Ambassador" Joe Wilson, both here and in Britain. Nearly three years ago, a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that this was not merely untrue, it was the opposite of the truth: Wilson's report actually bolstered the belief that Saddam was seeking uranium from Niger.

"The panel found," as the Washington Post reported July 10, "that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts." So, you can see how a seasoned newsman like David Shuster might come to the exact opposite conclusion and then repeat this false conclusion on TV every night.

Wilson's unwritten "report" to a few CIA agents supported the suspicion that Saddam was seeking enriched uranium from Niger because, according to Wilson, the former prime minister of Niger told him that in 1999 Saddam had sent a delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" with Niger. The only thing Niger has to trade is yellowcake. If Saddam was seeking to expand commercial relations with Niger, we can be fairly certain he wasn't trying to buy designer jeans, ready-to-assemble furniture or commemorative plates. He was seeking enriched uranium.

But Wilson simply accepted the assurances of the former prime minister of Niger that selling yellowcake to Saddam was the farthest thing from his mind. I give you my word as an African head of state.

Chris Matthews also repeatedly says that Bush's famous "16 words" in his 2003 State of the Union address – which left-wingers say was a LIE! a LIE! a despicable LIE! – consisted of the claim that British intelligence said there was a "deal" for Saddam Hussein to buy enriched uranium from Niger.

Matthews huffily wonders aloud why Wilson's incorrect report didn't get into Bush's State of the Union address "rather than the president's claim of British intelligence that said there was a deal to buy uranium, which of course became one of the underpinnings of this administration's argument that we had to go to war with Iraq."

Considering how hysterical liberals were about Bush's "16 words," you'd think they'd have a vague recollection of what those words were and that they did not include the word "deal." What Bush said was: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Even if the British had been wrong, what Bush said was factually correct: In 2003, the British government believed that Saddam sought yellowcake from Niger. (Not "MSNBC factual," mind you. I mean "real factual.")

But in fact, the British were right and Wilson was wrong. By now, everyone believes Saddam was seeking yellowcake from Niger – the CIA, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, Lord Butler's report in Britain, even the French believe it.

But at MSNBC, it's not even an open question: That network alone has determined that Saddam Hussein was not trying to acquire enriched uranium from Niger. Actually, one other person may still agree with MSNBC: a discredited, washed-up State Department hack who used his CIA flunky wife's petty influence to scrape up pity assignments. But even he won't say it on TV anymore.

Shuster excitedly reported: "We've already gotten testimony that, in fact, that Joe Wilson's trip to Niger was based on forgeries that were so obvious that they were forgeries that officials said it would have only taken a few days for anybody to realize they were forgeries."

This is so wrong it's not even wrong. It's not 180 degrees off the truth – it's more like 3 times 8, carry the 2, 540 degrees from the truth. Shuster has twisted Wilson's original lie into some Frankenstein monster lie you'd need Ross Perot with a handful of flow charts to map out in full.

During Wilson's massive media tour, he began telling reporters that he knew Saddam was not seeking yellowcake from Niger because the documents allegedly proving a deal were obvious forgeries.

Again, thanks to endless investigations, we now know that Wilson was lying: He never saw the forged documents. (Not only that, but Bush's statement was not based on the forged documents because no one ever believed them.)

The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report notes that Wilson was asked how he "could have come to the conclusion that the 'dates were wrong and the names were wrong' when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports." Indeed, the United States didn't even receive the "obviously forged" documents until eight months after Wilson's trip to Niger!

Wilson admitted to the committee that he had "misspoken" to reporters about having seen the forged documents. Similarly, Cain "misspoke" when God inquired as to the whereabouts of his dead brother, Abel.

But on "Hardball," the forged documents that no one in the U.S. government saw until eight months after Wilson's trip now form the very impetus for the trip. A perfectly plausible theory, provided you have a working time machine at your disposal.

If you wonder how it came to be generally acknowledged "fact," accepted by all men of good will, that Joe McCarthy was a monster, that Alger Hiss was innocent, that mankind is causing global warming, and that we're losing the war in Iraq, try watching the rewriting of history nightly on MSNBC. Don't forget to bring your time machine.

Ann Coulter is a bestselling author and syndicated columnist. Her most recent book is Godless: The Church of Liberalism.

Film Review: 'Notes on a Scandal'


Cate Blanchett and Andrew Simpson as a teacher and student carrying on an affair in "Scandal."

'Scandal': A Lesson Not Soon Forgotten

By Stephen Hunter

Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 27, 2006; Page C01

The joke goes something like this: "Authorities today indicted eighth-grade teacher Melissa J. Smith, 34, of Bethesda on two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allegedly having sexual relations with a male student. In a related development, the eighth-grade boys elected the blond instructor Teacher of the Year."

All right, it isn't funny -- but it gets at how confounding a train wreck this particular configuration of human folly represents. The older woman, a teacher no less; the young man, unformed of face and fuzzy of cheek. What the heck? Nobody knows what to make of it. Parents are apoplectic, the school board is shamefaced, the principal is destroyed, the other kids think it is so cool, the woman's husband is probably unmanned for life and talk shows and journos make laffs and millions of bucks in its wake. As for the love criminals? Well, no one can really know; they did what they did because that's what they did.

Now "Notes on a Scandal" offers what is possibly the only intelligent account of such a disaster ever constructed, with a point of view that is somewhat gimlet-eyed and offered with absolutely no sentimentality whatsoever.

That point of view, from the mind of a bitter woman named Covett, observes the behavior not as crime or tragedy but as opportunity. Ms. Covett -- the great actress Judi Dench in a knotted, embittered rage almost throughout -- is a salty old pro teaching at an English school, and she noted poor Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett), the new art teacher, back when she came to the young teacher's rescue as misbehavior threatened to turn her class into anarchy. Covett and Hart? Is that touch perhaps a little precious? In any event, Ms. Covett, iron of spirit as well as of petticoat, stops that outbreak with a few steely words, then takes the younger teacher under her wing.

We watch what we think will unspool as a touching story of human weakness as told from a sympathetic viewpoint, but we soon realize that cheesy uplift is not on the menu. No, indeed. All life, the film argues, is political, in that it progresses from each according to his desires to that same each according to his power. And Ms. Covett has an agenda; she's not even honest with herself, much less us, about that truth, but she wants something from the young, somewhat disorganized beauty. In the narrative sense, Ms. Covett turns out to be that favorite of old-fashioned mystery-dame specialties, the unreliable witness, who is hiding as much as she is revealing.

So the movie is in one sense the story not merely of a scandal -- Mrs. Hart's weakness for young Steven, however misplaced, is the least of the sins it documents -- but of a scandal's utility, for it is Ms. Covett who turns her knowledge of who's doing what to whom into leverage and attempts to get Mrs. Hart out of the frying pan and into an especially hot fire. You have games within games, intrigues within intrigues. It's like the Kremlin in the '30s.



One thing that marks the dark brilliance of "Notes on a Scandal" is the level of the acting, but that is just part of a larger issue: its vision. I can't remember a film that sees the here and now more precisely, one that offers total believability in the tone and motive of its characters and then goes further, showing us a whole and completely recognizable world.

Director Richard Eyre (his last film was "Stage Beauty") and writer Patrick Marber (his last film was the screenplay adaptation of his play, the acerbic sex rondelet "Closer"), working from a novel by Zoe Heller, have extraordinary powers of observation.

As much as anything, "Notes on a Scandal" is a study in the anthropology of British liberal-left middle-class life. The film shows them living in sloppy houses full of artistic disorder and giving full vent to their oh-so-important feelings, which they confuse with reality. They nurse their illusions (several others have comically dangerous illusions, too) and try to hurt nobody's emotions. Cosseted in the bosom of a nanny state, they've lost the power to defend themselves and are free lunch to predators.

Surely Dench will get an Oscar nomination for her performance; she makes you feel the absolute will to power, the Stalinesque shrewdness for weakness and the utter ruthlessness to use it. As the somewhat ditsy Sheba, Blanchett has exactly the appropriate inability to meet anybody's gaze, fear of shouting and disappointment, hunger to help all, addiction to the high of compassion that designates a mark . Bill Nighy is magnificent as an intellectual, boho king who thinks irony will protect him in a world where the bullets are real. As the young bounder Steven, Andrew Simpson has the same hunger for victory that distinguishes Ms. Covett; he is really just her in slightly more glam guise. This is a movie about sharks and little fishes.

Notes on a Scandal (110 minutes, at area theaters) is rated R for sexual content and profanity.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Jason Mattera: Catholic School Bans Pro-Life Speaker




http://www.townhall.com

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Catholic Church has a rich history of protecting the most vulnerable members of society. From challenging forced sterilizations to rebuking the practice of abortion, the Church’s leaders have been outspokenly pro-life.

Why, then, is a Catholic school censoring a pro-life speech meant to expose anti-Catholic bigotry, uncover an embarrassing eugenics movement in the United States, and disclose the dubious past of the abortion movement’s prized icon, Margaret Sanger? Even more troubling, why would this speech be abruptly canceled when attendance is voluntary and the event is held after school?

Kathryn Stickley, a senior at Mercy High School in Farmington Hills, Michigan, was shocked that her principal, Carolyn Witte, rescinded the Pro-Life Club’s invitation to bring best-selling author Dan Flynn to campus. Flynn—sponsored by Young America’s Foundation —was scheduled to speak February 12th on “Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood,” a look into the foundations of the abortion-rights movement. The topic comes from Flynn’s book, Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall For Stupid Ideas, which is backed by nearly 1,000 footnotes.

As Flynn painstakingly details, Sanger—the founder of Planned Parenthood and heroine of the Left—was an avowed racist who embraced the tenets of Nazism, terrorism, and religious bigotry. In The Birth Control Review, she implored Congress to create a “stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.” On the pages of The Woman Rebel, Sanger advocated the murder of John D. Rockefeller Jr. in an article titled “A Defense of Assassination.” And in a 1932 statement, she wrote that the Catholic doctrine is “definitely against social welfare and race improvement.”

Those are just some of the venomous facts about Sanger—facts that the students at Mercy High School will be forbidden to hear if Carolyn Witte, whose contact info you will find below, has her way.

Witte said Flynn’s message was unsuitable for high school students. The “content could be misunderstood,” she told Young America’s Foundation. The principal didn’t mention how information exposing Sanger’s nefarious programs to sterilize large segments of Blacks, Italians, and Jews—whom Sanger referred to as “human weeds”— could be “misunderstood,” particularly by a pro-life club sanctioned by a Catholic school.

Taken from its mission statement, Mercy High School “nurtures compassionate leaders committed to addressing human needs, working for justice and serving the poor”—the same justice of which Sanger fought to deprive others, and the same poor Sanger wanted segregated from the master race.

Witte also added that her students were too “sensitive” to hear a topic about Planned Parenthood. Are Witte’s students, whose ages range from 14 to 18, also too sensitive to read about slavery, racism, and Native American genocide—topics which surely aren’t pretty? Probably not, since that “history” focuses on the Left’s holy trinity—race, gender, and class. It’s only when the “history” shifts to abortion that Witte pulls “sensitivity” out of her lexicon.

“I’m not suggesting that I or the school is anti-Mr. Flynn,” she added. “I just have not heard him speak.”

So, Principal Witte, you admit to never having heard Mr. Flynn talk before, then to canceling his appearance because of his message? Ah, a good lesson for all high school students to absorb: Judge first, listen second.

Even if a lecture on abortion may cause uneasiness among some students, isn’t school the place to challenge assumptions and to hear different, and perhaps, discomforting points of view? Apparently, Mercy High School’s principal is completely fine with producing graduates who are unprepared to think for themselves.

Witte sees no problem with a Catholic school rejecting basic Catholic doctrine. Not only is the Catechism of the Catholic Church explicitly hostile toward abortion—calling the procedure a “moral evil” and excommunicating any person obtaining one—but the official position desires exposure to a wide variety of ideas. For with freedom, says the Catechism, man “might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to the [Almighty].”

In essence, this principal would rather hide the grisly positions espoused by Margaret Sanger than act as a responsible educator, and as a responsible Catholic.

Make your voice heard to Carolyn Witte and Mercy High School’s president, Regina Doelker. Contact them and tell them that such censorship is unacceptable.

Mercy High School: http://www.mhsmi.org/

Jason Mattera is the Spokesman for Young America's Foundation.